2002 (appx 13’)
Brass quintet (horn, 2 trumpets, trombone and tuba)
It is not new to draw on another composer’s music and make it a starting point for one’s own work. Nor is it new to use that existing music – especially music that has an ‘implicit’ meaning – to represent something symbolic.
‘tis Enough is such a work. It draws on the music of J.S. Bach (his famous cantata Es ist Genug) and it moulds, develops, suggests and integrates the opening aria throughout the first movement of this three-movement composition. It also informs the direction of the substructure of the rest of the work.
Frankly, I was intending to use Bach’s music in an opera (at a highly symbolic moment), but untold problems set in with that piece. I had ‘had enough’, and this brass quintet emerged. It was a way of saying something in public in the best and most profound way I could, with the group of instruments I grew up with (I was a trumpeter).
The first movement grows out of murmurs, out of whisperings and secrecy. The music twists and turns and occasionally Bach’s music can be detected more apparently. At one point the trumpets erupt with a literal scream (not of anguish, more of frustration). Then the murmurs continue. The second movement is something of a firecracker. It is over almost as soon as it has begun, all the instruments working in the same direction and only at the end going their separate ways. (Bach is still there, but imperceptibly.) The final movement is serene – the calm after the various storms. Each instrument is used delicately, the principal trumpet soaring above the others with an intentionally beautiful line. Again Bach’s music permeates and guides, but unnoticeably. It is easy to see that the master’s work had allowed me to put things in perspective.
© Paul Max Edlin 2003
Perusal score available on request